During much of our visit to Spain, the weather was unseasonably gray, cold, and rainy. Thus the moment I stepped off the train in Valencia and was greeted by golden rays, my heart filled with joy, like only a southern California gal’s could. Thankfully, the weather remained nice and mild for our entire stay, keeping me perfectly warm and sun soaked.
The Astronomer and I visited the Mercado Central (central market) on our first full day in Valencia. Built in the early twentieth century, the market was bathed in an abundance of natural light and decorated with colorful ceramics and mosaics at every turn. The domed ceiling, with its sky-high windows, was especially gorgeous.
Nearly all of the vendors were hawking some sort of raw ingredient, like meat, cheeses, spices, or produce. A small number sold traditional groceries and household items. Unlike the Boqueria in Barcelona, not a single stall sold prepared foods. The entire space was impeccably clean, meat and seafood stalls included.
Before seeking out lunch, The Astronomer and I walked around the entire market to scope out the goods. We saw plenty of dried silvery fishes…
…an array of pointy fruits of the sea resting on ice…
…and strands upon strands of plump and delicious-looking chorizo and black pudding.
We eventually stopped at Jose Berenguer’s stall (#133) on a whim to pick up some cheeses, pates, and cured meats for lunch.
Senor Berenguer was incredibly friendly and helpful. We explained to him that we wanted to have a little picnic, and in turn, he asked us our preferences, made some suggestions, and offered up samples. He sent us on our way with a fantastic selection of goods. We picked up a long and crusty baguette, along with a treat for dessert, from the bakery stall across from his—Form Desamparats.
We also purchased a container of locally grown Valencian strawberries. They were easily some of the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten—sweet, fragrant, and juicy.
We set up our spread on the stoop of an old bank building and dug right in. From the creamy pate pimienta to the basil-infused cheese, not to mention the spiced chorizo and pungent slices of sheep’s milk cheese, everything tasted phenomenal. Our impromptu picnic was one of my favorite meals of the honeymoon.
As if our savory spread wasn’t sweet enough, we shared an apple cake piped with dulce de leche for dessert.
Now, what I wouldn’t give to picnic on a stoop with the sun shining down brilliantly every single day…
Mercado Central de Valencia
Plaza del Mercado, 1
46001 Valencia, España
Phone: 963 829 100